It was ugly right from the start for the Eagles at the University of Phoenix Stadium, from the moment the offense opened with a three-and-out series to the initial defensive series that yielded three first downs and a field goal to the Cardinals.
In one of the worst first-half performances the Eagles have ever had, they fell behind 24-0 by turning the ball over three times, failing to stop Arizona's previously inept offense and simply playing lousy, uninspired football. For whatever reason, Andy Reid has lost four of the last five games against the Cardinals and this one was as awful as the one in 2011 at Lincoln Financial Field.
"I did a terrible job of getting my football team ready to play this week," said Reid.
Any concerns the Eagles had about an offense battling injuries along the line and that played without starting wide receiver
It was awful in every phase. The defense treated Larry Fitzgerald as it would any other receiver. Instead of doubling him, or shading coverage his way and committing the defense to slowing Fitgerald, the Eagles mixed up their coverages and used
"We played him pretty much straight up," said safety
It wasn't just the defense. The Eagles fumbled away a punt when
Arizona loaded up on edge blitzes and pressure packages up the gut and chased
A completion to
But what happened was sheer madness. Two incomplete passes in the face of heavy Arizona blitz pressure put the Eagles in a third-and-goal spot with six ticks left on the clock. The call was for Vick to drop quickly and throw to his right, but a perfectly timed blitz by safety Kerry Rhodes got to Vick. Rhodes delivered a shot to Vick, who coughed up the football. It bounced up to James Sanders, who went 93 yards down the sideline for the back-breaking touchdown and a 24-0 lead.
"There was a man free there," said Reid, pointing to the entire group of players and coaches for responsibility.
"It was a situation where I should have been looking to get the ball out of my hands if things wasn't there," said Vick. "I tried to hold onto it, make a play and took a hit.
"I knew (Rhodes) was coming. I was hoping that the back picked him up, but I still tried to make a play. That's my responsibility. I've got to get that taken care of in the protection schemes especially with a new center and just have to play better."
Said runninig back
The Eagles played a much better second half and showed some fight, but they couldn't punch the ball in the end zone and they couldn't take the ball away from Kolb, the former Eagle who played a brilliant game, completinig 17 of 24 passes for 222 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Kolb was sacked three times and hurried many other times, but he played smart football and didn't give the Eagles a short field.
It isn't the end of the season, not by any means, but the loss and the way the Eagles lost was alarming. They were beaten soundly by an Arizona offense that hadn't run the ball a lick in two previous games, but then got 83 yards on 13 carries from second-year man Ryan Williams. That the Eagles couldn't take away Fitzgerald and in fact didn't alter their defensive philosophy for the only proven weapon in Arizona's offense showed great faith in the scheme and in the personnel, but it didn't work.
Offensively, the struggles continue. Defenses are going to blitz non stop until new center
Vick, of course, needs to protect the football much better (he lost two fumbles), and the Eagles have to get McCoy more involved early in the game. He had 13 carries, 70 yards and spent more time blocking the blitz than he did carrying the football.
Maybe it was just "one of those games" the Eagles have every year. Heck, every team has "one of those games." The disappointing part was that the Eagles just didn't come to play and were embarrassed by a very confident 3-0 Arizona team.
"We'll bounce back," said tight end
Suddenly, the season is at an early crossroads. The Giants are coming to town, and then the Eagles play at the Steelers. How good is this team? After a couple of sky-high wins in the last minutes of weeks one and two, the Eagles crashed to earth on Sunday. Can they bounce back on a short week against the defending Super Bowl champions?